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Family Newspapers?Sex, Private Life, and the British Popular Press 1918-1978$
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Adrian Bingham

Print publication date: 2009

Print ISBN-13: 9780199279586

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2009

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199279586.001.0001

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Informing and Advising: Sexual Welfare

Informing and Advising: Sexual Welfare

(p.51) 2 Informing and Advising: Sexual Welfare
Family Newspapers?

Adrian Bingham (Contributor Webpage)

Oxford University Press

This chapter outlines the way in which popular newspapers gradually assumed the task of informing and advising their readers about matters of sexual welfare. In the inter-war period, the popular press reported the fierce public debates about contraception, sex education, and the birth rate, but journalists were cautious and euphemistic in their writing. During the Second World War, the Daily Mirror challenged this evasiveness and started to adopt an explicitly educational role, with a high profile campaign warning the public about the dangers of venereal diseases. By the mid-1950s issues such as contraception, abortion, and divorce were covered far more extensively than before the war. Popular newspapers made an important contribution to the climate of reform that produced the legislative changes of the late 1960s. But the press's idealistic rhetoric of sexual reform gradually faded, and was gradually superseded by a more hedonistic and consumerist discourse of sexual liberation.

Keywords:   contraception, sex education, abortion, venereal disease, Second World War, Daily Mirror, legislative reform, consumerism, sexual liberation

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